I always joke with my friends that I have the best job in the world because I shop for a living. As a fashion entrepreneur, I’m privy to wholesale, sample and factory sales information and yes, I still shop the regular retail outlets too! (I put those down as retail therapy or market research). And since I’m soooo passionate about my fashion business, let’s just say that I’ve been pretty successful with my shopping. So in today’s blog, I thought I’ll share some practical shopping tips that are easy to execute, which I feel will take your wardrobe to the next level, without breaking the bank. So take a look at the following tips:
1. Make a Shopping List
Many people overspend or buy things they don’t want, don’t need and never end up using because they haven’t prepared properly. This is your hard earned cash and precious time you are spending – it’s definitely worth a few minutes of preparation! What’s that Boy Scout motto again? If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail! So, before you set off on your shopping trip - prepare. Review what you already have in your wardrobe, then write a list of the "gaps" and remember to use the list when you shop! Simply carrying the list all crumpled up at the bottom of your bag or jammed into your pocket isn’t going to help!
2. Set A Budget
People overspend because they have no parameters around their spending – they just went "with the flow". Not smart, my friends. Set a ballpark figure for the shopping trip and list the individual item's budget as well - what is comfortable for you and what makes sense for you to spend. The goal is to feel great about the shopping trip long after the ink has faded on the receipt. Promise yourself that you don’t buy more than you can afford. Set your budget – and like the list – stick to it! Whatever your budget – $50 or $500 or $5000 – STOP shopping once you hit that limit.
3. Shop With An Open Mind
Give yourself sufficient time to enjoy the process. Don’t speed-shop, especially if you’re searching for something really specific. Make sure you try on everything that catches your eye - stuff looks SO different on our body than it does on the hanger, and we often get caught up in a really narrow definition of what really looks good on us. I find it useful to set a specific timeframe within which you will complete your shopping and once that time is over, GO HOME. Your time is too valuable to spend it mindlessly anyway – once you’ve bought all you need, stop shopping and turn your attention to something else for the day.
4. Love Your Body
As buyers, we buy standard sizing, because unless we’re in the haute couture or made-to-measure market segment, most of our merchandise is mass-produced. It’s ok if the clothes don’t fit your body. That’s simply because we are all unique in our shape and size. If you like the style, buy it one size up and bring it to your tailor for some alterations. Whatever the case, never blame your body. It’s the clothes that are not right for you, never your body that isn’t right for the clothes.
5. Do Your Homework
Consider what you have in your wardrobe that you can wear with the item before you buy it. My general recommendation is that it should go with at least 3 items already hanging in your wardrobe (unless it’s a tuxedo or a ballgown)! If it only goes with one or two other things, is it really worth getting?
6. Don't Make Price The Priority
Don’t make price the first consideration when you’re shopping. Instead, pay attention to the way things fit and how you FEEL when you wear them. Don’t go shopping when you’re emotional and more prone to make impulse purchases.
7. Gear Up Well For A Fruitful Shopping Trip
For example, wear slip-on shoes/flats, so that your feet will be comfortable to walk and stand as you trek your shopping routes. Go shopping on a good hair day and a day when you are NOT period-y and bloated, so you’re less likely to get sidetracked by the “Ugh, I look awful” thing when you’re staring at yourself in a mirror.
On the other hand, some days I like to go shopping completely dressed down and with no makeup. I figure if something can make me look and feel good, when I have zilch makeup on, I’ll look and feel amazing in it on normal days when I do have makeup on!
8. Use The Cost Per Wear Ratio
Use the cost per wear ratio when shopping for investment buys - i.e. Jane wears her $200 designer jeans at least once a week, that’s 4 times a month, 48 times a year. That means if she wears it for a year, the cost per wear of those jeans is $4.17. If she wears it for 2 years, then the cost per wear drops to $2.08 per wear. Say Jane also bought a $49 designer Tee on sale, wore it once or twice then chucked it. That Tee’s cost per wear is actually $49 or $24.50, which is actually a lot more than the pair of jeans. Generally speaking, spend your money on investment pieces that up your style game, than on trendy pieces that will probably be out of style before the year is over. If you really long for that fashionable piece of clothing, buy the cheaper version at a high street store, not the luxe designer original.
9. Pick The Best Time For You
Shopping can be a fatiguing and stressful activity if you don’t shop at a time that works well for you. Shopping when the malls and stores are most busy (such as late night shopping and Saturday mornings) can lead to shopping fatigue where you end up fractious and irritable – not a state in which smart shopping usually takes place. Remember that our physical environment affects us and overcrowded, jostling environments like congested shopping centres rarely bring out the best in anybody. So, pick a time to shop when you are going to be at your most alert and positive. And make sure that you take regular breaks or shop for shorter periods to avoid becoming fatigue.
10. Don’t Buy Just Because It’s On Sale
"Sale" really is a four-letter word! Remember that a bargain is not a bargain if - it’s not you, it doesn’t fit you properly, you don’t love it or it doesn’t fill a legitimate gap you have (and therefore a real need).
Spending money on a $20 blouse, shoes, make-up or anything that you hardly wear or use is a waste of that $20. We justify it by saying “Oh it’s on sale, it’s only $20” but those $20 add up. You wouldn’t throw $20 into the rubbish bin, so don’t splurge your hard earned cash on items that appear to be a "bargain" due to their discounted sale price. Only buy items on sale when it’s something that is on your list, is within your budget and is something you would have gladly paid full price for anyway.
So now it’s over to you. What is your favourite shopping tip? Share your ideas in the comments below.
Have a fruitful shopping day, my friends!